- Jul, 05 2020
Have you missed a trip to Italy?
5 “Italy in the Yarra Valley” Food and Wine Experiences
So you may not be visiting the Amalfi Coast or the Venice Canals for a little while but a visit to the Yarra Valley with Italy in the Yarra Valley will have you experiencing food and wine in a region that is rich in Italian Heritage. There won’t be flight delays or jet lag for this journey to the Yarra Valley for an all Italian day with the inclusion of two of the best Italian restaurants to choose from for lunch and 2 premium wine tasting events.
From traditional home style, classic Italian dishes to modern Italian, all food is served with generosity and heart paired with wines that are elegant and lovingly made.
Italian food is the first choice when it comes to comfort and everyday eating, simple, delicious and accessible with enticing menus of Mediterranean flavours, artisan pastas, cold pressed olive oils, gourmet sauces, ravioli, pappardelle and tortelini, arancini, black truffles, local tomatoes and herbs and fresh seasonal produce gown in the Yarra Valley
The Yarra Valley matches your dining experience with many Italian varieties of wine such as Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Pinot Grigio, Savarro, Nascetta, Brachetto and Prosecco that can be tasted alongside the popular styles of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir popular in the Yarra Valley.
Italian heritage in the Yarra Valley
Italians have lived and worked in the Yarra Valley since the pioneer days and were part of the district’s early wine industry and made up a large part of the workforce on the construction of the Silvan Dam in the Dandenong Ranges, as well as running farms and businesses that contributed much to the area’s pre-WW2 agricultural industry.
Yarra Ranges Tourism celebrates this rich heritage with an annual event Ciao Yarra Valley Ciao where visitors to the Yarra Valley region can expect a huge showcase of Italian food, wine, entertainment and themed events.
One of the most famous Italian families in the Yarra Valley are the De Bortoli’s, now in the 4th generation and following the footsteps of their great grandfather, Vittorio De Bortoli. In 1924, Vittorio journeyed from Castelcucco to New South Wales and arrives in Griffith (formally known as Bagtown). In 1928 De Bortoli wines were born with Vittorio crushing 15 tonnes of Shriraz grapes. The Yarra Valley Estate purchased by the De Bortoli family in 1987 is today managed by grand daughter, Leanne De Bortoli and her husband, Chief winemaker, Steve Webber.
Stefano Stefani’s, (Winemaker and Owner of Stafani Estate Yarra Valley) had a childhood was spent in the small village of Lonnano, Tuscany, where he was surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. Stefano came to Australia after meeting his wife Rina and they established their first vineyard in the Yarra Valley in 1997. The vineyards today at Stefani Estate are surrounded by over 300 Olive Trees, the Frantoio variety with an early harvest for a high quality olive oil
Italy in the Yarra Valley Food and Wine Day Tour
Locale at De Bortoli Estate
The menu at Locale De Bortoli Estate reflects the seasons as distinctly as the views of the vineyards from the restaurant. Home made pasta and authentically cooked risotto are menu constants while the sauces and ingredients that go with them change depending on the time of the year. Many of our ingredients are grown right on the Yarra Valley Estate.
The focus is to offer exceptional northern Italian cuisine served in a Trattoria-style dining room. Fresh food quality, comfort and relaxation are key. Authentic fare amongst the vines. The lunch menu at Soumah pays true homage to Northern Italian Cuisine.
Cheese and Wine Pairing at De Bortoli Estate
Like De Bortoli Estate we believe that wine tastes better with food so your Italy in the Yarra Valley day includes cheese and wine pairing at this beautiful estate.
A visit to Stefani Estate will have you feeling like you are in Tuscany with the valley views and the geese amongst the vines as you approach the warm and welcoming cellar door.
Premium Wine Room at Soumah
The premium wine tasting room, set in a private space alongside the restaurant is where a tutored wine tasting of reserve and museum release wines from Soumah takes place. Soumah are producing high quality award winning wines and importing many Italian varieties of wine.
Italy in the Yarra Valley Inclusions
- Transfers (Local and Melbourne City)
- Tour with qualified local guide
- 2 Premium Wine Tasting events chosen from:
Premium wine tasting at Stefani Estate, Premium Wine Tasting at Soumah, Cheese and Wine Pairing at De Bortoli Estate
- 2 Course lunch with a glass of wine at De Bortoli Estate or Soumah (depending on availability on the day)
- Jul, 16 2016
Yarra Valley Day Tour
Well, the first thing to say is that there will be a lot of choices available to for a Yarra Valley Day Tour and in all Australian wine regions. Day tours, half day tours, Boutique winery visits, big winery brands, regional produce focussed, Chevvy tours, Private tours, public tours, Lots of cellar doors and light lunch, family run wineries, the inclusion of wildlife and sightseeing and this list goes on.
Choice is terrific but how do you go about making the right decision for the best wine tour for you? Because let’s face it, the last thing you want to be doing on your hard earned holiday is looking down the cellar door and spotting a tour that looks like it would have been a better experience for you.
So what is the right wine tour for you?
Small or Big Tour Group…
Give some thought and talk with your travelling partners about what you are looking for on a Yarra Valley Day Tour. Spend a bit of time seeing what wineries and other options are available to do on the day. Then see what tour options best match your preferences and at the price you are happy to pay!
You will need to understand (on the tour website or by speaking with the tour operator) what number is considered to be small. Some tour operators may consider this to be 24 and others just 4 or 6. It is a worthwhile question to ask if this is an important consideration for you. You may also look into a private tour, pay extra, and guarantee just your group. This will also allow a bit more flexibility in the itinerary and a great option if you have some “must do” options.
Small tour group’s advantages are that you are likely to move quicker as there are less bathroom breaks, photography sessions, cellar door purchases to be looked after that may hold up others. Small Groups on a Yarra Valley Day Tour in busy months make for a more personalised experience as cellar doors can get crowded.
Big group advantages are that there is a lot of people to meet and have a great day out with and they may be less expensive.
Small Group Tours may be able to spend a bit more time at wineries which leads me to…
What’s included in your Yarra Valley Day Tour?
Once again go through the detailed itinerary on the information available to you and determine how much time may be spent at each winery so you feel comfortable that you are not going to be rushed.Does the tour visit wineries you want to visit?
How many cellars doors are visited and what wines does the tasting include?
Is there a focus on food or just wine or any other activities unique to the region?
Does the wine tasting include reserve wines or is there an additional tasting fee?
Are there special inclusions such as meet the winemaker, tour of the winery, barrel tasting etc that may be of interest?
What does the lunch include, are there many choices, regional produce etc?Are the wineries visited by the operator going to present a good cross section of the region?
Then there is the general comfort and general considerations,-hotel transfers or meeting place, WiFi on vehicle, water, timing, dietary requirements, and family friendly.
Tripadvisor and Social Media Reviews
Once you have an idea of the type of tour you want jump on to Tripadvisor and other social media channels and get some testimonial description. I suggest not being put off by any not so glowing reviews unless there is an overwhelming theme here. It is possible that the tour wasn’t the right fit for this traveller as we are talking about here. The key is to read a lot of reviews with your criteria in mind. You will soon see a trend on the “highlights” that are being described from other guests experiences to determine whether this is a good choice for you. Check out Facebook for the same reason where you will also hopefully see lots of pictures and comments and maybe a special deal on the tour aswell!
If you are relying on an agent or a concierge to recommend ask if they have been on the tour as a guest so they can talk about direct personal experience. Even if this was a little while ago, guests will long remember how they “felt” about the experience.
Who is the guide? And who is the tour business?
If getting a good understanding of the wine region is up there for you, make sure you are getting a guide that can share this knowledge and passion with you. How long have they been touring in the region? Do they focus on just wine regions so dedicate all their resources here or other activities?What does TripAdvisor reviews say specifically about the guide? What is the background/special interest after all you will be spending 8 hours of your valuable down time with them. Why have they chosen the wineries they visit?
Hoping this is a help and you enjoy your next wine tour. It is an experience that can create lasting memories of great wine and a great wine region.
Here’s the thing. Yarra Valley Winter is not as green and lush with the vines being dormant but the upside is that there is no waiting for tasting and no crowds at cellar doors. You will also be touring with less people as there are less people visiting Melbourne. The warmer months on the other hand are scenically pretty but everyone is out to see them, including hens and bucks and leading into Christmas , corporate groups for end of year break ups. So you need to weigh up the time of year and what you are wanting to see and do as it may make a big difference to your experience and how many wineries you get around to.
Have a look at industry websites to see what is available by way of sightseeing and wineries. There may be specials out there at different times and your guide may ask if there is a particular winery you are keen on seeing if there is some spare time or with a smaller group of guests to allow for more flexibility.